This novel is a designedly political document. Written at the time of the Hastings impeachment and set in the period of Hastings’s Orientalist government, Hartly House, Calcutta (1789) represents a dramatic delineation of the Anglo-Indian encounter. The novel constitutes a significant intervention in the contemporary debate concerning the nature of Hastings’s rule of India by demonstrating that it was characterised by an atmosphere of intellectual sympathy and racial tolerance. Within a few decades the Evangelical and Anglicising lobbies frequently condemned Brahmans as devious beneficiaries of a parasitic priestcraft, but Phebe Gibbes’s portrayal of Sophia’s Brahman and the religion he espouses represent a perception of India dignified by a sympathetic and tolerant attempt to dispel prejudice.
Pastoral is one of the few literary modes whose genesis can be clearly traced. While poems reworking pristine rustic experience might have existed earlier, the pastoral mode as now recognized originated with the Greek poet Theocritus in the third century BCE. More correctly put, Theocritus provided a model that others followed to create the mode.
This is a companion to Pastoral poetry of the English Renaissance: An anthology (2016), the largest ever collection of its kind. The monograph-length Introduction traces the course of pastoral from antiquity to the present day. The historical account is woven into a thematic map of the richly varied pastoral mode, and it is linked to the social context, not only by local allegory and allusion but by its deeper origins and affinities. English Renaissance pastoral is set within the context of this total perspective. Besides the formal eclogue, the study covers many genres: lyric, epode, georgic, country-house poem, ballad, romantic epic, drama and prose romance. Major practitioners like Theocritus, Virgil, Sidney, Spenser, Drayton and Milton are discussed individually. The Introduction also charts the many means by which pastoral texts circulated during the Renaissance, with implications for the history and reception of all Early Modern poetry. The poems in the Anthology have been edited from the original manuscripts and early printed texts, and the Textual Notes comprehensively document the sources and variant readings. There are also notes on the poets and analytical indices of themes, genres, and various categories of proper names. Seldom, if ever, has a cross-section of English Renaissance poetry been textually annotated in such detail.
Bess of Hardwick was one of the most extraordinary figures of Elizabethan
England. She was born the daughter of a country squire. By the end of her long
life (which a recent redating of her birth suggests was even longer than
previously thought) she was the richest woman in England outside the royal
family, had risen to the rank of countess and seen two of her daughters do the
same, and had built one of the major ‘prodigy houses’ of the period. While
married to her fourth husband, the earl of Shrewsbury, she had been gaoler to
Mary, Queen of Scots, and her granddaughter by her second marriage, Lady Arbella
Stuart, was of royal blood and might have been succeeded to the throne of
England. This wide-ranging collection, which draws on the recent edition of her
correspondence, brings out the full range of her activities and impact. It
contains a biography, analysis of her language use, consideration of the roles
of her servants and the management and nature of her households (including the
complex and allegorical decorative scheme of Hardwick and its famous
embroideries), and a new appraisal of the relationship between Bess and her
This chapter draws fully on the range of surviving sources and responds
critically to the growing scholarship on the Tudor nobility and gentry to
contextualise Bess within her time. Traces her four marriages (including the
financial difficulties that beset the first two and the breakdown of the
fourth), her role in guarding Mary, Queen of Scots, and her building
activity. What marks Bess out is her extraordinary social mobility, rising
from minor gentlewoman of limited prospects to immensely wealthy and
powerful countess, that and the fact we know more about her than almost any
other woman of her time. Her marriages, her buildings, her possessions and
her letter-writing are all fascinating, but must be read within the context
of other Tudor nobles and gentry (men as well as women), otherwise Bess will
continue to be regarded as something of an exception – something of an
aberration, even – and that would diminish her remarkable achievements.
This chapter focuses on Bess’s textile production, starting with the textile
hangings she produced for Chatsworth, which constitute the most ambitious
known artwork produced by an Englishwoman in the early modern period.
Although these textiles are in many ways distinct from the emblematic
embroideries that Bess produced working alongside Mary, Queen of Scots, her
royal prisoner during this period of time, there are also areas of overlap
in style and subject matter. These areas of connection between Bess’s
textile work and Mary Stuart’s support the assertion that Mary was a
catalyst in Bess’s transformation from able embroiderer to what today we
would call a textile artist. The chapter pieces together the story of her
workshop at Chatsworth, located in the guarderobe there and in its attached
This chapter discusses Bess’s use of language. It is based on seventy-eight
letters, both scribal and holograph, that Bess wrote to various
correspondents throughout her life. With a particular focus upon her
spelling and grammar, it places Bess’s use of English within the context of
what we already know about how women were using the language in Tudor and
Stuart England, and the changes taking place in the language over the early
modern period, defined here as 1500–1750.